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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gray fox gets around

Round round get around
I get around
Get around round round I get around

Here he is again, the get around kid, this time checking out a dab of delectable fox butter on a chilly night near the crest of a steep hill.

Like car-cruising Beach Boys, Gray Fox gets around very well indeed, even with a low-slung chassis.

I sometimes tire of his ubiquitous image, but he deserves credit for being a cooperative subject.

He has none of Coyote's inhibitions around camera traps, and in my experience he is often the first fellow to show at a set.

Figuratively speaking, he's a rambler, showing up almost everywhere habitat-wise, except in the grassland.

Here from set 318 there's a commanding view of the grassland, but outcrops and nearby chaparral offer cover.

Gray Fox may get around, but only one of the Beach Boy lyrics really apply.

My buddies and me are getting real well known
Yeah the bad guys know us and they leave us alone

Well, if you're a Gray Fox, Coyote is the bad guy.

On this chilly night Gray Fox stood only a few yards from a burrow, vertically elliptical in outline, and thus one that most probably accommodates Coyote.

Yet the two species coexist on the Chimineas rangeland.

Before California Fish and Game took over the management of Chimineas ranch, Coyote was persona non grata, and culled.

According to my colleague Kathy Ralls, who used to work on Chimineas, Coyote was very retiring in the old days, and hightailed it when he saw people.

Nowadays you can snap his picture if you are quick with your camera, but he still doesn't hang around.

Not so with Gray Fox.

You might not see him very often, but he's smaller, and perhaps less prone to daylight escapades.

As for getting round, the codger isn't.

Not since tearing my Achilles tendon a week ago.

I am now sporting the big-foot-star-wars boot, and you don't hike, dog walk or boogy wearing something that feels like a bear cub hugging your ankle.

It's tough on Fred.

He knew something had changed right away, and hung back the first 24 hrs.

Then separation anxiety set in.

I knew he was spoiled but didn't think it was this bad. I mean its not like I went away.

He cried so much when we put it to crate at night, that now he sleeps in the bedroom.

For exercise he is getting  2-3 games of fetch-the-ball daily (which by the way was the cause of my injury).

Camera trapping diversions like Chimineas Ranch and Marin County will have to be on hold for a while.

It's going to be a long winter.


Hugh said...

Ow, sorry to hear about that. I hope you heal quickly.

Gray Foxes don't occur this far north, and Red Foxes, once common in the Lower Mainland of BC (Greater Vancouver), are mostly or completely gone now. Coyotes became common several decades back and quickly became top dog.

Owlman said...

Rupturing your Achilles tendon is no picnic and slow to heal but with proper PT and strict adherence to the Drs orders you will be "getting around" again Codger. You now have time to finish the book on Camera Trapping.
Now you have me going around singing the song "I get around" to my csts.:)

Anonymous said...

Got any high school runners in your neighborhood who would take him along - maybe for a dog walking fee?

I'm feeling sorry for your high energy Fred and hope for both your sakes that you heal up soon. Cynthia

randomtruth said...

Ouch! That's a bummer Chris! Well, at least it is winter - the "low" season... Hope you're back and mobile soon.

As for gray foxes and coyotes, I get them both regularly on my Mariposa traps. And you're right - the fox is always the first to show and not shy. I actually just got my first full color daytime pic of a gray fox, but he had his head turned away from the camera! Crafty fox. :)


Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks, folks. Just to let you know, Fred chases the red Kong Ball two to three sessions a day. Wind sprints. He sleeps well afterward.